How to Cook Basmati Rice

Three Methods:Soaking the Rice FirstCooking Rice on the StoveCooking Rice in the Microwave

Basmati rice is a variation of aromatic rice that originates from India, and commands some of the highest prices for any type of rice around the world. It’s characterized by long, slender grains and has a dry, firm texture when properly cooked.[1] Cooking basmati rice may seem like a difficult task, but if you follow the correct technique and pay attention when you’re cooking, the result is delicious and fairly easy to pull off.

Method 1
Soaking the Rice First

  1. Image titled Cook Basmati Rice Step 1
    Pour one cup of rice into a bowl. Use a measuring cup when dumping your rice into a bowl. Deviating from the quantity of ingredients will make your rice over or undercooked.[2]
    • If you want to make 2 or more cups of rice, maintain the same ratio of other ingredients.
    • You typically want to keep a 1:1.5 or 1:2 ratio of rice to water.
  2. Image titled Cook Basmati Rice Step 2
    Fill the bowl with water to submerge your rice. Use your sink to fill your bowl up with water. Don’t let it overflow or some rice may be lost.
    • The water should just cover the surface of the rice.
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    Swirl the rice around with a spoon for 1 minute. Swirling your rice will remove the starch from it, which is the traditional method used to cook basmati rice. The water in your bowl should now look murky and cloudy.[3]
    • Removing the starch will prevent your rice from being overly sticky, which is popular among Japanese and Korean dishes.[4]
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    Drain the water out of the bowl. You can use a colander or a fine-mesh sieve to drain your rice.[5] Make sure that all the water is drained out and you’re not letting rice fall into your sink.
    • If you don’t have a sieve or colander, you can tip your bowl on an angle to drain it.
    • Make sure you aren’t tipping the bowl too much or the rice may fall out.
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    Repeat steps 2-4 until the water becomes clear instead of murky. Continue to wash your rice and drain it, until the water in the bowl ceases to be murky. This indicates that you’ve washed away the rice’s starch and it can now attain a traditional basmati texture, once cooked.
    • This process will usually take 3 to 4 times before your rice is free of excess starch.
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    Fill up bowl again and let rice soak for 30 minutes. Allowing the grains to soak will expand them, adding to the texture of the rice.[6]
    • Another added benefit to soaking is that the expanded grains are capable of soaking up more sauce from your dishes.

Method 2
Cooking Rice on the Stove

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    Add 1 3/4th cups of water inside of a deep saucepan or pot. If you are using 1 cup of rice, use anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 cups of water. Adding more water will make your rice more fluffy, while less water will make it taste tougher.
    • Don’t add too little water or your rice may not fully cook or come out burned.
    • If you use more than one cup of rice, make sure to adjust the amount of water you’re using.
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    Add a teaspoon of salt to your water. Adding salt to your boiling water will season the grains of rice, and allow your water to boil at a higher temperature, and thus more thoroughly.
    • Water typically boils 212 Degrees Fahrenheit, but when you add water it boils at 216 Degrees Fahrenheit.[7]
    • Adding salt after your rice is cooked could make it too salty.[8]
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    Place your pot on a stove top and bring your water to a boil. Set your stove to medium or high and wait until large bubbles break the surface of the water in your pot.
    • Though it depends on the amount of heat your stove is able to produce, your water should boil in anywhere from 5-10 minutes.[9]
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    Add your cup of rice to the pot. While the water is boiling, add your rice to the pot of water. This should stop the pot from bubbling. Do not touch the heat settings on your stove.
    • Make sure to not drop the rice from too high up, to avoid splashing boiling water on yourself.
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    Stir rice until it comes back to a full boil. Using a wooden or heat safe spoon, stir your rice until the water starts to boil again.
    • It should only take a couple of minutes for your water to return to a full boil.
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    Turn your stove to low once the water starts boiling again. Once the water comes to a fierce boil again, lower your stove top settings to low. You should see the water in the pot simmer instead of large bubbles breaking the surface.[10]
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    Cover the pot and let rice cook for 15 minutes. Keep your stove’s heat settings to low as you continue to cook your rice. These directions are for typical basmati rice and not special varieties of basmati like wholegrain basmati rice, which takes longer to cook.[11]
    • Do not uncover the lid on your pot, because you’ll let the steam that’s cooking your rice out.
    • Do not stir the rice or it may become broken and mushy.
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    Let stand for 5 minutes and fluff with fork before serving. Letting the rice stand for 5 minutes allows unfinished grains to fully cook, and the remainder of the water to evaporate. Afterwards, make sure to fluff it with a fork.
    • Fluffing rice with a fork separates the grains so there are no large clumps and the rice maintains a fluffy and light texture.[12]

Method 3
Cooking Rice in the Microwave

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    Fill a bowl with a 1:2 ratio of rice and water. In a single, microwaveable bowl, add one cup of rice, and two cups of water. If you want to make more rice, make sure to add more water at the same ratio.[13]
    • For example, for 2 cups of rice you’d use 4 cups of water, for 3 cups of rice, 6 cups of water.
    • Make sure you have a big enough bowl.
  2. Image titled Cook Basmati Rice Step 16
    Place in microwave and cook for 6-7 minutes on high, uncovered. Amount of time you keep your rice in the microwave depends on its wattage.
    • For a 750W microwave keep your rice cooking for 6 minutes.
    • For a 650W microwave keep your rice in for 7 minutes.[14]
  3. Image titled Cook Basmati Rice Step 17
    Cover bowl with microwavable plastic wrap, leaving a vent on the side. Covering your bowl with plastic wrap will steam it and completely cook it.[15]
    • Do not poke holes on the top of the plastic wrap.
    • Make sure to use wrap that can be microwaved.
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    Reduce microwave to medium (350W) and cook for another 15 minutes. Refer to your microwave’s instruction manual to see how to reduce its settings to medium. Not reducing the settings could result in overcooked or burnt rice.
    • Do not stir your rice at any time during the cooking process.[16]
  5. Image titled Cook Basmati Rice Step 19
    Let stand for 5 minutes and fluff with fork before serving. Your rice should not be completely cooked. Fluff with your fork to break up the rice before serving it.
    • Be careful when taking the bowl out of the microwave. It will be hot.

Things You'll Need

  • Deep pan or pot for cooking
  • Measuring cup
  • Fork
  • Basmati rice

Article Info

Categories: Rice and Beans